The Los Angeles Kings came back in a game that started out being heavily dominated by the San Jose Sharks, but unfortunately losing 6-3. The Kings drop game one of the first round Stanley Cup Playoffs in a game that could have been worse than it was.
The Sharks started the scoring when Brent Burns made an impressive one-handed pass into the front of the net to Joe Thornton. It was an athletic play that even had the top goalie in the NHL Jonathan Quick losing sight of it.
Five minutes in, the series showed the hate underlying when San Jose’s Mike Brown shoved a Kings defender, who fell into Quick. A melee ensued and resulted in two penalties for each team. This game was hot already.
In the last minute of the period, Tomas Hertl was in the right place at the right time when an errant play turned into an open net as the Sharks’ rookie wristed in a bouncing pass. It had crossed in front of Quick who had to dive for the save attempt, but unfortunately, it was not meant to be for the netminder.
A few seconds later, the Sharks ended the first period with a shot to the heart of the Kings as a rush from Matt Nieto to Patrick Marleau caught the Kings off balance once again and put the Sharks up 3-0.
Aside from the lopsided goals, it was a very physically balanced game. In the first period alone, the hits were Los Angeles 29-San Jose 26. Let that sink in… 55 hits in the first period alone.
The second period was much more physical… for San Jose. The Sharks were on the Kings every time they tried to make an offensive push and had the puck in their own zone more often than not.
The Sharks continued the scoring when Raffi Torres found a bouncing puck in the slot. Torres picked up the rebound, which had ricocheted off the post from the previous shot attempt, and put it past Quick. It was 4-0 San Jose.
And it was not over.
Two penalties had San Jose on a 5-on-3, which they could not capitalize on initially. Right before the second penalty expired, Marc-Edouard Vlasic hit a shot that Jonathan Quick had no chance for. San Jose was up, 5-0. The The LA bench had the life sucked out of them.
Quick was benched to start the third period in place of Martin Jones. Fortunately for Jones, he did not allow another goal in the game. The third period saw the momentum shift back to LA and was started with some defenders giving some offense.
Twenty-six seconds in, Jake Muzzin injected some life into the Kings as he scored one from the circle. Five minutes later, Slava Voynov shot one past Sharks’ goalie Antti Niemi as he attacked the Shark defense for an unassisted goal. Suddenly, there was a chance.
The Kings pulled Jones with about two and a half minutes left and continued to put some really good pressure on the Sharks. Unfortunately, it was Brent Burns who put a damper on the comeback when he sent a clearing shot down the ice and directly into the open net. The Sharks went up 6-3 and that was where the game ended.
The positive of this is that it the Los Angeles Kings did not just roll over and take it. They fought back and showed San Jose that this is going to be a series. Expect more of an effort from LA as they look to even up the series on Sunday from San Jose.